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9 Tips On How to Design a Parisian Style Apartment

August 15, 2022

Est. Reading Time: 11 Mins

When it comes to figuring out how to design your home, it can get pretty easy to fall into the same trend everyone does. Many people love styling their homes in a modern or a contemporary style.

Some niche styles like loft/industrial have made huge waves over the years, becoming a common aesthetic as well. But those who are looking for something truly unique might have to look a little bit deeper for niche trends that are still niche.

Well, a new emerging decor trend that is attracting many people’s interest involves blending the old style of French-European design while incorporating newer styles with flair and elegance. This type of home design is called the Parisian style decor.

Regarding Parisian style decor, La-Z-Boy Kingston interior designer, Mary Lee Smyth, says this style is one of her favourites.“I absolutely love this high-end aesthetic; it really is chic decor at its finest,” she says.

Decorating your apartment or home into a Parisian aesthetic doesn’t have to feel complicated. Mary Lee says it can be done anywhere you live, with your personal touches added.

This article will give you 9 tips on how to turn your space into a Parisian style apartment, thanks to Mary Lee’s helpful advice.

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In This Article…

  1. Brief description of Parisian style decor
  2. Tips on how to create a Parisian style decor
  3. Examples of La-Z-Boy Furniture that fit with Parisian style decor



Brief Description of Parisian Style Decor

Parisian Style Apartment 

There is a reason why Parisian style decor is a niche way of styling your home – it’s because not many people have heard of it. You might be one of those people. So, before we jump into the tips, let’s learn about this emerging design trend.

To begin, Parisian-style decor comes from, as you would’ve guessed, Paris, France. For much of history, Paris and other big cities in western Europe delivered a beacon of art and creativity.

From philosophers to dancers, singers, and painters, these people had complex thoughts and ideas that influenced a lot of the culture that we see today in places like Paris, France.

In Mary Lee’s words, the Parisian style is “intellectual urban chic.” This means that the  style of home design is thought out without over-complicating itself. “It has elegant details in its style but is also balanced by very simple contemporary styles,” Mary Lee says.

However, the reason why this style stands out so much is because of the high-end details and decor that go into creating a room like this. 

Some furniture and decor items you would normally see are lush fabrics, Persian carpets, detailed chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling draperies, which are all traditional touch points. 

Essentially, blending old and new styles of French decor and designs is the main focus when creating a Parisian room!

Lastly, Mary Lee emphasizes the fact that it is not casual furniture. It is elegant and should be treated as refined pieces of furniture. 

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“These pieces of furniture are not meant to be tossed around with or carelessly treated. They are meant to be sat on and enjoy philosophical conversations with your friends and family, as well as intellectual stimulating television.”

To summarize, it is comfortable furniture, but elegant comfortable. According to Mary Lee, it is clean and has very rich visuals that people should appreciate when they enter your living area.


Tips On How to Create a Parisian Style Apartment

Now that you know what Parisian style decor is, you might be interested in incorporating some elements into your apartment or home. 

Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.

1. Paint Your Walls in a True Colour

Mary Lee says the main factor influencing a Parisian decor style is the room's colour. “The French love natural beauty, and it is reflected in their rooms when they decorate their houses,”  she says.

When painting your walls, ensure they are related to some form of natural colour like bright white. This is a popular wall colour used in Parisian houses because the natural light bounces off these walls greatly.

You can also choose to paint an accent wall with an intense colour that balances the light in the room. Mary Lee mentions deep, natural and intense colours that you only get a glimpse of in nature. Like the deep red of small berries.”

2. Purchase a Gilded Mirror 

Gilded Mirror

Another main staple of the Parisian style decor is purchasing a gilded mirror. These mirrors include gold leaf details and opulent frames that resemble the old European design that people are fond of.

Mary Lee says these mirrors are perched on some sort of pedestal, making them stand out in the room. “You can place it on top of a fireplace or a dresser; so long as it is distinctly placed in the room where people will notice it, that’s where it should be,” she says.

The other important detail is that Mary Lee says the frame has to be coloured either gold or silver in some way, or else it is not considered Parisian. 



3. Decorate Your Apartment with Fine Art

As mentioned before, this type of decor is considered high-end, meaning you have to create an elegant and ornate space. 

This may also mean considering adding different types of artwork around your apartment or home. Mary Lee says this can include any form of art piece like a painting you love or a sculpture of some sort.

Also, since this decor style is considered “intellectual” in Mary Lee’s eyes, she says that you might use books as accent pieces on the coffee table.

However, you do not need to put all art forms in your Parisian decor. The only art pieces you should put are those that speak to you. After all, the basis of home decor in the first place is what you think best describes your unique taste, says Mary Lee.

4. Add a Persian Style Rug to Your Living Room

Persian Rug As mentioned before, Persian-style area rugs go great with a Parisian style living space because of the eccentric colours of Persian rugs.

Persian area rugs surprisingly incorporate a lot of the Parisian style in a very detailed design, according to Mary Lee. Not only does it have very elegant patterns, but it also has natural colours that can create a more tasteful colour palette in your room overall.

What’s more, the design patterns on these area rugs do not just include natural colours but also have symmetrical patterns, which are important in a Parisian design.

La-Z-Boy might have Persian area rugs for you. Check out our article on La-Z-Boy’s Area Rugs Selection and the Surya Area Rug Review.

5. Include Traditional Style Furniture

Traditional FurnitureWhile blending potentially newer art designs and Persian rugs, balance these contemporary concepts with traditional-looking furniture.

If you are unsure of what defines traditional-looking furniture, check out our article on Traditional vs. Contemporary Furniture Design.

Mary Lee says these furniture pieces must look older with elegant and ornate designs. This can include upholstery, button-tufted backs, nailhead trims on the frame, or decorative wood legs

These pieces of furniture are stationary. Some reclining furniture pieces can look traditional, but most of them have a more modern aesthetic to them, according to Mary Lee.

Along with the traditional sofas come the traditional-looking coffee tables, which should mostly be made with wooden materials. “Not a lot of chrome, and not a lot of glass,” says Mary Lee. 

Lastly, the accent pieces like table lamps and other light fixtures should have a level of detail that is “extravagant,” in Mary Lee’s words. 

“They need to be absolute works of art to capture the attention of your guests,” she explains. 

“They are not going to be simple. They should be crystal, elegant linen shades, lots of glass base materials, and most importantly, a chandelier on the ceiling.”

When looking at examples of Parisian style rooms online, you will quickly notice that 9 times out of 10, there will always be a grand-looking chandelier incorporated into the design of the room in some way. This is another Parisian decor staple that people cannot get enough of.

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6. Consider Adding Wainscotting to Your Walls


Another consideration for incorporating detailed-oriented designs to your Parisian apartment is adding some form of wainscoting or moulding to your walls.

This can include having square-like frames made out of wainscoting on your walls or asking a contractor, if allowed, to add another layer of the wall to create a rectangular or square indent.

If you decide to add wainscoting to the bottom of the floor or middle of the wall, Mary Lee suggests painting it as a contrasting colour to accentuate your walls. 

“For example, if your wall is painted in blue, you should paint your wainscoting as a creamy white to make the colours pop,” she says. 

7. Include French Doors & Draped Windows

French Doors 

This one is a very small change, but if you have a balcony or an apartment big enough to include outside doors, Mary Lee says it is a good idea to turn them into french doors.

French doors are outside doors that push out instead of opening into a space like the outside doors we’re used to. According to Mary Lee, they’re built this way because they don’t let in as much rain since it rains so much in England.

These french doors are usually made out of the full-length window to let in as much natural light as possible. Speaking of windows, it is also important to include head-to-toe draperies on your full-length windows. 

These draperies also match the elegant aesthetic. “These are not curtains, sheers, shutters or anything inexpensive,” Mary Lee says, “These are just well-crafted draperies.”

If you are shopping for window coverings, take a look at the Best Stores for Window Coverings in Ottawa.

8. Create Balance & Symmetry

Symmetrical Parisian Furniture 

Another important detail you shouldn’t forget when purchasing your furniture and decor items is ensuring everything is balanced and works together, as with any style.

Mary Lee also says symmetry is crucial when creating a Parisian style room. 

“Instead of doing an L shape configuration in the room, which is what most people do when they create a contemporary room, place everything parallel to each other.”

For example, instead of purchasing one sofa and an accent chair to match, you would get two matching sofas and arrange them to face each other. 

9. Be Wise with Your Spending

Last but not least, from all the tips you’ve read, you might have already guessed that this kind of decor does not come cheap. 

Yes, most of the decor items we’ve mentioned are more expensive than other items on the market. However, this does not mean you should abandon going Parisian in your household altogether.

If this is something that excites you, but you don’t have the money for it, Mary Lee suggests purchasing Parisian accent pieces first and then working your way up to more expensive items as you go

“You do not have to purchase everything all at once,” she says, “If you don’t have the money for it that’s okay. I wouldn’t go breaking the bank for something you can’t afford.”

Since this is your living space, you get to decide where to begin your Parisian journey. You can start by getting a nice gold leaf mirror that grabs your guests' attention or starts with a traditionally designed furniture piece.

“Working your way slowly but surely to create your perfect space is key,” says Mary Lee

As you create your budget, take a look at our article about the Cost to Furnish a Home.


Examples of La-Z-Boy Furniture that Fit with Parisian Style Decor

At La-Z-Boy, we are known for inventing the recliner chair over 90 years.

However, we have so much more to offer! To the surprise of many, we carry furniture for all rooms in the home, including the living room, bedroom, and dining room.

With our furniture and decor selection, you can create any kind of room you wish, including Parisian! Here are some examples of La-Z-Boy furniture pieces that you can have in your Parisian apartment.

1. The Laurel

parisian apartment

The first on our list is the Laurel Sofa. This luxurious looking sofa loves to welcome guests into the living room. With an eclectic look and relaxed personality, there's no way you can't resist adding this furniture piece into a Parisian style home.

Mary Lee says this is a great choice for this type of home because it is more on the traditional side. "It has a certain lightness because of the height of the leg and the button tufting adds to the luxury," she says.

Button details, gently rolled arms and tapered wood legs add to its uniqueness. The Laurel is also available as a Chair & a Half and a matching ottoman. You can learn more about the Laurel Furniture Family with this review article.

2. The Emric

Parisian apartment

The next furniture product that Mary Lee recommends is the Emric Sofa, one of the newest additions to the La-Z-Boy family! 

The Emric Sofa is clean and informal, and this is shown with its single bottom cushion - a style we have yet to see on our floor. The Emric also includes a king-sized lumbar pillow, instead of the typical two squared pillows you get from our sofas, which adds to its contemporary look.

Though it has not hit our floor yet, the Emric is making a name for itself, especially as one of the smaller sofas in our furniture selection, thanks to its inclusion of the apartment-sized sofa. Along with the apartment-sized sofa option, the Emric is also available as a sectional.

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3. The Scarlett High-Leg Reclining Chair

Known as one of La-Z-Boy’s best-selling Accent Chairs, the Scarlett is a very transitional furniture piece that incorporates old and new looks within its design. 

The Scarlett gives you unlimited possibilities to create the perfect room with its fresh, clean silhouette. This versatile chair features casually tapered arms and tall wooden legs. 

Looks are only half the story since this designer chair is secretly a recliner. Simply push back to enjoy two positions of instant reclining comfort.

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Choose your favourite colour or pattern to make a personalized style statement. Mary Lee says that the upholstery on the Scarlett determines how modern or traditional it’ll look.

If you want to learn more about the Scarlett High-Leg Recliner, take a look at this article.

4. The Allegra Chair

The last furniture item that Mary Lee recommends is the Allegra. 

The Allegra combines a streamlined look with subtle details to complement today’s casual decor. It features an inviting box seat, welt trim, slightly flared arms and decorative tapered wood legs.

 A solid foam back and ComfortCore® cushion provide optimum support for a long or short sit. Alone or in a pair, Allegra is a great addition to any room.

The Allegra is available as a stationary chair, a swivel chair, a gliding chair, and a matching ottoman. You can learn more about the Allegra Chair by checking out this article.

What's Next?

After reading this article, we hope you have the tips and tricks to create the perfect Parisian-style apartment or home. 

As you can see, La-Z-Boy offers varying styles of furniture. If you’re interested in creating a Parisian style room with La-Z-Boy furniture, why not start shopping today? 

You can start shopping by visiting one of our local showrooms located in Ottawa or Kingston. You can also schedule a visit online before coming in.

Our design consultants are always eager to lend a helping hand. Take advantage of our interior design services to see how furniture like the Alexandria could fit into your home design. 

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